The Chiropractor
D. D. Palmer
    Rachitis, plural rachises, is a Greek word meaning spine.

    The origin of the word rickets is uncertain.  It means to twist, to sprain.

    Rachitis is an inflammatory disease of the vertebral column.  This is an interesting and instructive condition for chiropractors to study.

    Medical dictionaries, pathological and orthopedic works describe definitely the malformation of the bones, degeneration of the organs, general feverishness and abnormal functionating.

    Rachitis or rickets is a disease of early childhood characterized by defective nutrition of the entire body and alterations in the growing bones.  The prominent symptoms are restlessness, fever, profuse sweating, and general sensitiveness, associated with characteristic skeletal lesions.  The head becomes bulky, the spinal column curved, the sternum projected, and the long bones bent.

    Physicians and surgeons are not decided as to the cause or causes.  They have many and varied speculative opinions.

    When it becomes generally known that heat is a function of nerves, chiropractic beams of enlightment will revolutionize the practice of medicine and make visible that which is now obscure.  A natural insight of your teacher, untrammeled by superstition or education, assisted by revelation and an investigation from a chiropractic viewpoint has enabled him to throw an illuminating light on the etiology of this heretofore mysterious disease.

    In the Adjuster, on pages 237 to 255, is given a full description by many authors of this “constitutional and nutritive disorder.”

    It is my desire to make you and the world acquainted with the etiology of this well-known disease, characterized by disorders of the digestive system and alterations in the shape and structure of bones.

    Osteomalacia and rickets are similar in some respects and yet quite dissimilar in others.

    Rachitis is a diseasse of childhood, osteomalacia (softening of bones) is of adult life.  The former is present while bones are being constructed, while the latter is only found after bones are formed.

    The structure of all tissue, more especially that of nerves, is modified as age advances.  The same pressure upon, or tension of the same nerves at different ages produce quite different effects, which are classed as different diseases.  No two of us look alike, no two have nerves of the same quality in health, while in disease these differences are augmented.  The primary and secondary qualities of the nervous system differ in individuals regarding their size, figure, number, situation, molecular action, and more especially in intellectual perception, the quality and character of which is formed by contact with the five senses of consciousness.

    The structure and composition of bones undergo a change as age advances.  Those of a child are composed of three parts gelatine and one part phosphate of lime, bone matter; in old age the proportion is reversed, one part gelatine to three parts of bone material.  Herein is the reason why the bones of the aged do not knit so readily when fractured as in those of younger years.

    Hyperthermia, excessive heat, temperature above normal, creates a larger per cent of the red corpuscles and a corresponding inadequate number of the white corpuscles.  This increase of the erythrocytes and the lessening of leukocytes has a tendency to soften all tissue, more noticeably bones and nerves.

    The solid portion of the body is about one-tenth of the whole.  The normal per cent of the red and white corpuscles are variously given as 300 to 600 of the red to one of the white.  The color of the blood is from the preponderance of the red corpuscles.  The corpuscles are the solid portion of the blood and constitute about one-third to one-half of the blood.  In anemia the number of the red may be reduced to one-tenth of the usual number.  In fever there is an increase of the colored and a lessening of the colorless corpuscles; during convalescence this order is reversed. In the healing of wounds and fractures the temperature of the body is physiologically increased in order to produce plastic material, which is cartilage-like, known as callus, the osseous substance deposited in and around the divided portions of a fractured bone.  A portion of this callus becomes permanent and is changed into true bone, the temporary or provisional callus, is used as a splint to keep the ends of the bones in opposition; when the union is complete it is removed by absorption.  Poisons change the relative per cent of the red and white corpuscles, whether more or less depends upon the increase or decrease of organic function. Poisons affect nerves, cause a greater or lessened tension, raise or lower the temperature, modify the per cent of red and white corpuscles.  The pus cells of an abscess consist of dead white corpuscles.  Excess of heat makes it unfavorable for their existence and favorable for the red.

    Scurvy and rachitis may be associated.  A pathologist says, “We know nothing concerning the pathogenesis of scurvy.”

    In all diseases wherein a high temperature was maintained before death, the bones and marrow will be found of a reddish color, owing to an excess of the red corpuscles and a corresponding deficiency of the white.  If the temperature falls below normal, remaining so for a time, there will be an excess of the leukocytes and a lessening of the erythrocytes.

    A very high temperature causes an increase in the vascular circulation and an increased tension of the nervi vasorum (nerves distributed to the walls of blood vessels) in the perivascular (around) tissue.

    Varying degrees of temperature represent a corresponding rate of molecular oscillation, a greater or less vibration of atoms.

    Substances known as poison are noxious because of their exciting or depressing effects on the nervous system and their adaptation to modify functions; for this reason and for such a purpose physicians prescribe drugs.

    Any ingesta which causes abnormal functionating is a poison.  The continued use of one article of food may act as a poison upon the nervous system in a like manner (a lack of rest, a continued strain) as does auto-suggestion in hysteria, insanity and neurasthenic affections.  Auto-suggestion may relax nerves, or act as a tensor.

    The heat condition of caries and rachitis are different in that the former is local, while the latter is diffused.  In necrosis and caries the heat is circumscribed, in the latter it is dispersed.

    Why not learn to make the distinction between the diseased conditions arising from the tight, rigid, strained nerves of the third cervical and those of the twelfth dorsal?

    In bone softening without disintegration, the general diffusion of heat is due to hypertension of the twelfth pair of dorsal nerves, the second center place.  In necrosis and caries the heat is localized because of tension on other nerves than those of the twelfth dorsal, which may be determined by the area affected.  Caries, necrosis, rachitis and osteomalacia are due to the function of heat being performed in excess, because of the displacement of some portion of the neuroskeleton.

    All rachitic conditions are because of displacement of the twelfth dorsal vertebra; this is an established fact: then, why not replace it, thereby restoring those nerves to normal tension; tension depending upon the position of the bones of the neuroskeleton.  It takes time to create abnormal curvatures, misshapen vertebrae -- it will take time to reshapen them back to normal; this may be accomplished by proper daily adjusting.
    Stover’s case of ichthyosis congenita, dry scaly tetter, a skin disease, a squamous scale-like covering from the sebaceous glands, which disappeared in summer and re-appeared in winter, covered the posterior portions of the forearms and the dorsal region of the back, also, pyorrhea alveolaris, inflammation of the alveolar periosteum, looseness of the teeth, shrinkage and suppuration of the gums, cancer of the tongue and supposed consumption were relieved by adjusting the twelfth dorsal for the former two diseases and the fifth dorsal for the latter two conditions.